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Forbes: Knicks, Lakers are the NBA’s Most Valuable Franchises

New York Knicks v Los Angeles Lakers
Forbes published the annual list of the NBA’s most valuable franchises and the New York Knicks and Los Angeles Lakers top the list. The New York Knicks have an estimated value of $1.4 billion followed by the Los Angeles Lakers at $1.35 billion, the Lakers also generated the most revenue last season at $296 million, the Bulls are the third NBA Franchise worth $1 billion and are followed by the Celtics and Nets in the top five on this list. The Top 10 according to Forbes is: 1. Knicks – $1.4 billion 2. Lakers -$1.35 billion 3. Bulls – $1 billion 4. Celtics – $875 million 5. Nets – $780 million 6. Rockets – $775 million 7. Heat – $770 million 8. Mavericks – $765 million 9. Warriors – $750 million 10. Spurs – $660 million

The average NBA franchise is worth (equity plus debt) $634 million, up 25% over last year. Collectively the 30 teams are worth $19 billion versus $400 million in 1984 when there were 23 teams. Stern has served his owners well. Under his watch, every team built or completely renovated their home arena leading to total gate receipts of $1.3 billion last season. He pushed through a salary cap starting with the 1984-85 season that helped owners turn a profit and level the playing field (the cap has increased from $3.6 million to $58.7 million this season). With some help from Nike, Stern’s idea of marketing of individual star players—Jordan, Kobe, LeBron—created global celebrities and fueled interest in the game (see “Kobe, LeBron Lead NBA’s Highest-Paid Players“). No team has benefited more than the New York Knicks. The NBA’s most valuable team for a second straight year, the Knicks are now worth $1.4 billion, up 27% from a year ago. A three-year, $1 billion renovation of Madison Square Garden pushed the Knicks’ revenue to $287 million, net of revenue sharing, last season. The Knicks’ average TV rating on the MSG Network was 3.1, up 71% from the previous season, as the team made the second round of the playoffs for the first time since 2000 (both the Knicks and MSG are owned by publicly traded Madison Square Garden Company). The playoff run and arena renovation helped the Knicks generate operating income (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) of $96 million–a record for an NBA franchise. One team already reaping the benefits of new TV money on the local level is the Los Angeles Lakers. The 17-time NBA champions rank second with a value of $1.35 billion, up 35% from last year. The Lakers earned $122 million from local TV last season, which marked the first year of the team’s massive 20-year, $3.6 million deal with Time Warner Cable TWC +0.33%. The Lakers’ Time Warner payout last season was more than 20 times what teams like the Bucks and Bobcats generate (see “The NBA’s Richest Local Television Deals“).

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